Company News

FACTBOX-Enbridge has history of US pipeline spills

July 30 (Reuters) - A 41-year-old stretch of pipeline operated by Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. ENB.TO ruptured in southern Michigan on Monday, spilling between 800,000 and 1 million gallons (19,047 to 23,809 barrels) of crude into a creek feeding the Kalamazoo River, which flows into Lake Michigan.

The spill ranks as one of the largest from a pipeline in recent U.S. history. A notorious BP BP.L pipeline spill in Alaska in 2006 was less than one-third of the size of the Enbridge pipeline spill this week.

Enbridge had several major pipeline spills in the United States over the last decade. Below is a fact-box detailing recent Enbridge pipeline incidents and spills in the country.

After this week’s spill, Enbridge has been working to contain the crude with booms in the water, to reduce risks that it could reach Lake Michigan. As much as 6,000 barrels of crude have been removed from the water so far.

The spill could lead to more scrutiny of U.S. pipeline activities and Enbridge, Canada’s top pipe operator.

Canada is the top supplier of crude oil to the United States, and Canadian crude imports are expanding quickly. A congressional staffer told Reuters that members of the House Transportation and Oversight Committee are probing the latest Enbridge incident.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation sent Enbridge a warning letter, threatening fines if the company failed to improve corrosion-testing on another stretch of the ruptured Enbridge pipeline, known as 6B. The line, which runs from Ontario, Canada to Indiana, can transport 190,000 barrels (8 million gallons) per day.

* January, 2010: An Enbridge pipeline leaks around 3,000 barrels (126,000 gallons) of crude near Neche, North Dakota. Authorities order Enbridge to reduce pressures on the line, and in a letter to Enbridge, raise concerns over the strength of some of its pipeline seams.

* November, 2007: Two workers are killed after an Enbridge-operated pipeline catches fire in Northern Minnesota. The same line had recently been repaired. Following the incident, which resulted in a pipeline closure, up to 20 percent of U.S. crude imports were temporarily halted. Enbridge was fined for having allowed pressure on the pipeline to exceed recommended limits.

* January, 2007: A spill on an Enbridge line that transports Canadian crude to Chicago, Illinois leaks around 50,000 gallons (1,190 barrels) of crude in rural Wisconsin. About a month later, and further north, the pipeline again spills around 125,000 gallons (2,976 barrels) after a construction crew breaks the line.

* 2005: Enbridge spills more than 412,650 gallons (9,825 barrels) of oil in several incidents over the year, according to National Wildlife Federation data compiling spill volumes. Most oil is quickly contained by Enbridge.

* June, 2003: Enbridge spills around 19,000 gallons (452 barrels) in Wisconsin’s Nemadji River, and additional crude spilled from an Enbridge terminal is contained.

* July, 2002: 252,000 gallons (6,000 barrels) spill from an Enbridge pipeline into marshlands near Cohasset, Minnesota.

*Sources: Department of Transportation documents, Enbridge spill reports, spill data compiled by the National Wildlife Federation, SEC filings.

Reporting by Joshua Schneyer and Selam Gebrekidan.